CIP September 16, 2013
Al-Habib Munzir bin Fuad Al-Musawa. Fatiha. Photograph Courtesy of Islamic Heritage Research Foundation.
Al-Habib Munzir bin Fuad Al-Musawa was born in Cipanas, West Java, Indonesia, on Friday, 23 February, 1973, coinciding with 19 Muharram 1393 AH.
He was one of the four children of Habib Fuad bin Abdurrahman Al-Musawa and Rahmah binti Hashim Al-Musawa. His father, Fuad, was born in Palembang, Sumatra, and raised in the holy city of Mecca. After graduating in journalism from New York University, his father later worked as a reporter at the daily News Yudha.
Shaykh Munzir’s childhood was spent in Cipanas together with his brothers, Ramzi, Nabiel Al-Musawa, and Lulu Musawa. His father died in 1996 and was buried in Cipanas.
After he finished high school, shaykh Munzir began studying Islamic Shariah Sciences at Ma’had Assaqafah Al Habib Abdurrahman Assegaf in Bukit Duri, South Jakarta, Indonesia
In 1994 he went to the sacred valley of Tarim, Hadramawt, and Dar ul Mustafa, to study religious sciences for four years. There he applied himself to knowledge of fiqh, tafsir of the Qur’an, hadith, da’wa, tasawwuf, and other Islamic disciplines..
Al-Habib Munzir bin Fuad Al-Musawa returned to Indonesia in 1998, and began preaching, visiting different cities and homes. Later, on request, he founded the Habib Munzir open majlis. From the beginning, when the number of attendees was about six men, he continued to preach the gentleness of Allah.
Continue reading Indonesia mourns as Al-Habib Munzir bin Fuad Al-Musawa passes away by Irfan Al-Alawi
Folksmagazine [India] January 22, 2012
West Kone Yoe Central Mosque, Mandalay - Photograph by Doron, 2007, Via Wikimedia Commons.
The promise of democratization in the 2010-2011 “Arab Spring” has nearly vanished in the aftermath of Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabi electoral victories in North Africa, continued grinding atrocities in Syria, Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooperation Council occupation (plus Iranian intrigue) in Bahrain, and chaos in Yemen. But news from China and Southeast Asia is more positive.
In the first country, authorities have removed Communist officials from command over the “rebel” village of Wukan in Guangdong province and replaced them with a local party member, Lin Zuluan, a leader of protests against seizure of communal property for corrupt private sale and alleged electoral fraud. The Wukan party bureaucrats fled the village last month when the revolt there widened and an advocate for the demonstrators, Xue Jinbo, died in police custody.
Since the Arab turmoil began in December 2010, Chinese democracy activists and foreign observers have noted increasing factory strikes and other discontent in the vast country, predicting a “Jasmine Revolution” – a term briefly used to denote the North African revolts. Nevertheless, Beijing continues to repress dissident intellectuals – most recently indicting poet Zhu Yufu for “subversion” in writing a poem calling for street assemblies by disaffected citizens.
Zhu was detained early in 2011 for composing the verse. As quoted partly in Western media, he wrote, “It’s time, Chinese people!/The square belongs to everyone/the feet are yours/it’s time to use your feet and take to the square to make a choice.” Zhu is founder of the China Democracy Party and had previously served nine years in prison, based on two separate trials, in 1999 and 2007.
Continue reading A “Second Spring” in the Far East? by Stephen Schwartz
The Weekly Standard Blog September 27, 2011
Saudi woman, 2010 — Photograph Via Wikimedia Commons.
On September 25, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia made world headlines by proclaiming the right of his female subjects to nominate and compete as candidates in municipal elections. The king also pledged to appoint women to the country’s 150-member, unelected “shura council,” or executive consultative body. The decision coincided with weekend celebrations of Saudi National Day, which commemorates the foundation of the state by King Abd Al-Aziz Ibn Saud in 1932, and falls officially on September 23. But the new rules for female electoral participation will not apply on Thursday, September 29. when the desert realm holds the second nationwide polling in its recent history.
As with other events in the current panorama of revolution, reform, and repression in the Arab countries, the Saudi decision has elicited contradictory analyses. The unexpected royal proclamation provides only that introduction of women into the shura council will begin with the institution’s following term, in 2013. Women may nominate and run as candidates in municipal balloting beginning with its next round, in 2015.
Enthusiastic observers may view the increased right of women to participate in Saudi politics as a major change. But, as noted in the London Independent, women, who own at least 80,000 motor vehicles in Saudi Arabia, are still barred from driving them, although King Abdullah promised them the right to operate cars on the sprawling grounds of the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). In May 2011, Saudi women began a brief series of protests, influenced by the mass mobilizations in other Arab lands, in which they took to the steering wheel. But the unwritten, “theological” ban on women driving remains in place.
Continue reading Saudi Arabia Grants Women Limited Election Rights
by Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz
Indonesian Parliament Complex, Jakarta, 2008 — Via Wikimedia Commons
Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C) is increasing in Indonesia, with the issuance in June 2011 of official guidelines from the Ministry of Health for its infliction – even though the Indonesian authorities banned the practice in 2006.
Indonesian media report that the new government regulations on FGM call for “scraping the skin” but not “cutting” the clitoris of Muslim girls. While the Jakarta government had forbidden FGM altogether because it “could potentially harm women’s health” and was “useless,” a lack of state oversight allows its prevalence and increase, especially on the island of Java.
Indonesian women’s rights groups have called for abolition of the regulations permitting FGM. The Indonesian Family Planning Association, through its spokeswoman Frenia Nababan, warned, “This gives a justification for health practitioners to damage women’s bodies.”
Continue reading Indonesian Government’s Backward Step on Female Genital Mutilation by Irfan Al-Alawi
Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2008 — Photograph by Gunawan Kartapranata via Wikimedia Commons
Hudson Institute New York August 15, 2011
After Saudi Arabia beheaded a 54-year old Indonesian grandmother in June for stabbing her Saudi employer to death, Indonesia declared a moratorium on the migration of its nationals for domestic employment in the desert kingdom, effective August 1. Although the two countries were to adopt a bilateral agreement for protection of Indonesian domestic workers in Saudi Arabia this year, no such document has been signed.
Ruyati Binti Satubi, a household worker from West Java, was executed for murder after she confessed slaying the man who had contracted her. The Indonesian migrant, who has three children, said she killed her employer because she was denied permission to return to her native land.
Continue reading Indonesia Bans Labor to Saudi Arabia After Beheading of Grandmother
by Irfan Al-Alawi
Id Kah Mosque, Kashgar, Eastern Turkestan -- Photograph via Wikimedia Commons.
Uyghur Human Rights Project August 12, 2011
China must account for the conditions and whereabouts of Nur Muhammed, a Uyghur handed over to Chinese officials in Thailand on August 6, and five Uyghurs, including a woman and two young children, who were forcibly repatriated to China from Pakistan on August 8. The Chinese government’s failure to transparently handle the cases of individuals previously repatriated to China heightens concerns on the part of the Uyghur American Association (UAA) that the fates of Uyghurs deported from Thailand and Pakistan will remain unknown, and that they will be subject to torture, arbitrary detention, and possible execution.
Continue reading Uyghurs deported from Thailand and Pakistan
Chinese influence wins out over international law
by the Uyghur American Association
Islam Sight [Malappuram, Kerala, India], July 25, 2011
1. THE TWO FACES OF ISLAM is your masterpiece. I never read any book that deals with the history and present character of Wahhabism so deeply, aside from it. What led you to write such a book?
Thank you for your high compliments, which I treasure.
I became aware of the negative role of Wahhabism in present-day Islam during the Bosnian war, with the interference of Wahhabi “mujahidin” who came to Bosnia and did not contribute properly to the Bosnian struggle but did attempt to impose their deviant interpretation on the Balkan Muslims. I read everything then available in Muslim sources on Wahhabism and when I went to live in Bosnia was prepared to confront it.
When I came back from the Balkans, the events of September 11, 2001, and the involvement of Saudi subjects in the terrorist atrocities of that day, made my knowledge of Wahhabism suddenly relevant.
I had intended to write a book on Islam, and, with no warning, a specific topic – Wahhabi radicalism – was thrust upon me. I took up the challenge, but all such abilities are gifts from Allah subhanawata’la, so finally must say I wrote the book because I was guided to do so. I was presented with a task, and did my best to fulfill it, and, alhamdulillah, have been rewarded for it in this life. It is perhaps a matter worthy of irony that when I was writing The Two Faces of Islam some of my non-Muslim colleagues were surprised when I said I was writing the book more for Muslims than non-Muslims. They presumed that Muslims would not read my book. But my book has had a greater impact in the Muslim countries than in the West, which is very gratifying to me.
Continue reading Wahhabism, Terrorism, Islam
Interview with Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
by Lukhman Karuvarrakund
The Harabati Baba Bektashi Sufi Complex in Tetova, Macedonia, 2010 — Photo by the Bektashi Community of Macedonia
The Huffington Post July 20, 2011
Devotees of Sufism, the spiritual interpretation of Islam, face problems wherever they are found. In the West, many self-styled Sufis have never become Muslim, know little of the religious background of the Sufi way, and give Sufism a reputation as simply another flavor of New-Age, “weekend” mysticism. In Muslim lands, especially in the Arab core countries, classic Sufi authors may be praised while living Sufi teachers are derided as un-Islamic charlatans. And in some places, Sufis are imprisoned and murdered.
As a Muslim Sufi adherent, however, I am troubled especially by another expression of contempt very widely cast against Sufism by Islam-hating amateur experts in the West. That is the claim of Sufi irrelevance. Since the horror of Sept. 11, now almost a decade past, the identification of a moderate and contemplative form of Islam, which can oppose radical and fundamentalist doctrines, has seemed of considerable importance both for the moral health of Muslim believers and for the security of non-Muslims and Muslims alike. But the Sufi alternative to Islamist extremism is neglected or even disparaged, typically, by Muslim and non-Muslim commentators.
Western misperception of the importance of Sufis in Islamic life is complicated by lack of clarity as to who and what Sufis are. Sufis often enjoy great prestige with the mass of Muslims, based on Sufi examples of personal humility in fervor for God and Sufi preaching of love for humanity. But Sufis are not, mainly, other-worldly, exotic individuals or groups that spend all their time absorbed in semah (ecstatic turning on one foot and other forms of dance).
Continue reading How Many Sufis Are There in Islam? by Stephen Schwartz